The Original keeps on Returning

“Do not cling to your timeline,” he said.

As I followed this directive down a few paths, I felt lost. The Orient had gone, no direction. So I said, “No lighthouse in sight. No sun, no stars. What can guide me? Which line to follow? Where to put my foot?”

He smiled. In his eyes I saw how he felt for us, how he was willingly entangled in our human predicament. And yet he answered, “If all lines would be equally good and equally challenging in the long run, if the multitude of possible destinies were of equal quality overall, which timeline would you really want to travel down? What would you want to be your guiding light?”

On a round planet a path can bring you anywhere, and will eventually, if you travel it long enough, bring  you everywhere. And I’m in love with the two-armed form, the never ending diversity, the manifold presencing itself uniquely and originally wherever I care to just look.

The Original hides in plain sight. It reveals its nature as nothing; nothing without a capital letter and a -ness at the end. Imagine, if you like, a completely empty space; and for you smart-asses reading this, a space completely without any energy fluctuations, virtual or manifest. Now, if anyone would be asking you, “What is happening there?”, you’d answer, “Nothing is happening there.” That’s what I mean by nothing. The empty space would be nothingness, but what’s happening there is, “nothing, whatsoever.”

That’s how the Original is hiding in plain view, and reveals itself to me as soon as I remember, and sometimes even without me remembering anything.

The Neverending Dreamer by Cameron Gray

As soon as you try to take hold of the Original, mentally, feelingly, in Spirit or Soul, or any which way, it hides in plain view again. Pretending to be nothing. But once you see, once you understand that you cannot understand, that it cannot be turned into anything whatsoever, even identified with or arrived at neti-neti or iti-iti or any other way, once you let go of letting go, once you re-member, the Original is there. And even though you cannot identify with it, it’s You, it’s Me, it’s presencing originally wherever you care to turn. And it’s nothing special at all.

When the Original returns, it doesn’t return as a realisation. Realisations may follow in it’s wake, and often do, but the Original is no realisation. No sky, no heaven lights up, although colors may return to what seemed like tinges, hues, and glosses before. No divine trumpets announcing the omnipresent, non-dual, eternal out-of-time happening, although a transparent joy may infuse all that appears in your awareness as the Original returns to its ancient homestead in plain view.

And the Original keeps on returning. Not once and for all times, although it may often seem to be that way. Until you discover yourself in the distance, taking yourself to be this, that or the other. Trying to be enlightened. Trying to be good, beautiful and true. Meditating in the divine and blissful regions of the never-ending realms of light and darkness. Or finding yourself stuck in this or that karma, this or that trauma, this or that complex, this or that pain and suffering, this or that desire; finding yourself in all the never-ending imperfections of the human form. And that is Original as well: everything in plain view is. So you do whatever you can, to get the stuck unstuck, to see through your powerlessness and powerfully embody everything you choose, to welcome all and everyone that happens to visit the guesthouse of your awareness. Because, you may conclude on the timeline you’re on, whatever you meet, you meet as the one and only Original one. And healing is its wake, the trail it leaves behind. (Thank you Jody for pointing that out.)

For as long as you try to wrap your head, your self around it, the Original will hide in plain view. But as you accept the impossibility of it all, as you allow for nothing to happen at all, it may unwrap itself for you, and recalibrate everything just for the pure fun of it, the simple and ordinary presence of whatever happens to be.

Nothing is as it is. (Yes, you can read this at least in two ways.) So what I do, whenever I feel like it, is bring myself and what concerns me, or whatever else I care to bring, to nothing. And then it is touched, or maybe recalibrated and brought to another resonance, or it simply stays just the way it is originally.

Nothing is gained, and magically everything is. So, letting go of your timeline, which line to follow?

(Take Two – Take One here)

 

The Return of the Original

SelfportraitMy irritation with all teachings by any or all Masters, contemporary or not, has revealed itself to being irritated with myself, not staying with the Original, trusting the Original, embodying the Original, easing into, seeing with and inhabiting the Original.

It’s a  matter of trust.

So, even though the Original became obvious to me on a beautiful summer day almost 15 years ago, and I stayed with/as the Original for quite some time, it became obfuscated by second-hand or rather, the not quite original, again, and I became a spiritual teacher in a lovely, great, deep, beautiful lineage, for sure, and the Original shone through often enough, but it’s utter simplicity was somehow lost to me. And once that journey as spiritual leader needed to be left behind for an exploration into wefulness, close encounters with the Circle Being, and other mystical happenings, I did, but still the Original was gone, in some strange sense unbeknown to me. And then the journey of turning business into a veritable spiritual path began for me: defined 7 years ago as Collaboration Ecology, and now growing into an international company and “the rubber hitting the road” for real. And still, I didn’t miss the Original; I didn’t even notice its fading into the background.

And so, as I look at this now, my journey into the not-original, into the slight distances between things, the never ending stories of aims, purposes and goals as real, and so endlessly on took its course. I could and can still call on the bliss-energy on demand and transmit it, even to strangers on the train, but still that’s not the Original, as now I know. I guess I wanted to learn to include all this not so original matter, the divine entertainment, including the shaktipat, the chi, the turned on blisses simply appearing in my body, but most of all the deflation, the obscure, the shadow and the night where all seems lost and nothing gained…

And yet, when I look right now, the Original is presencing itself as every blade of grass, as a flip chart marker, a mobile phone, this computer screen.

I never liked the idea of consciousness as foundational, that consciousness manifests as everything etc. Recently, when I read Bernardo Kastrup’s article that rationally and elegantly shows the hypothesis of consciousness as a prior, fundamental “force”, like gravity for instance or the electro-magnetic force, I did a little dance, because it satisfied everything my mind likes so much about science. And I liked the consequence it has for rational thinking. Yet truly, I couldn’t wrap my heart around it or my soul. And still the Original was forgotten.

I have, these last two days in particular, been feeling, experiencing, reluctantly welcoming and contemplating the ancient fears around my power again, triggered by a deep sense of intimacy I’ve come to experience unexpectedly and out of the blue recently, where I got utterly scared because of some foundational drama on my life’s path, the fear of having  a ‘bad core’ because those I’ve loved most, and who said truthfully they deeply and utterly loved me (at first my mother, when I was 6), always sent me away… Because of my conclusion when I was 6, that there must be something really very wrong with me, that I’ll always hurt the ones I love most, I managed to mostly never let anyone come so utterly close to me personally again.

Oh, there surely where moments and even periods of deep intimacy with everything, like when the Original became obvious, but this wasn’t person to person, heart to heart, soul to soul intimacy. This is deep and all encompassing Spirit, for sure, it is Clear Space, Transparent Joy, yes, and certainly the person is effected in many ways, but somehow it’s not including these ancient wounds, these big and little traumas embedded in the body and psyche and acting as an injunction in ordinary life’s circumstance and relating.

And yet today, in my  whole body contemplation of this particular wound, coupled with the irritation about some actually great tantric teaching about Siva and Shakti i was reading, the Original became obvious again in a new, simple clear way, and strangely enough it has always been here anyways, it just wasn’t That Obvious to me, beautifully sidetracked as I’ve been.

The Original showed up as the purposeless, aimless, simple self-presencing of the trees right out there, and then spread out as every little being and thing that appears in my awareness. And I remembered again that, to me, this Presencing is foundational and that maybe that is meant when mystics speak about consciousness being at root of all. But really, it doesn’t matter what they say, cause I’ll stay simply with the Original, and now the ancient pain, my fear of power and intimacy, the wounds and possible wounding that still scares me is mysteriously “okay”, it looks like.

The Epiphanic Mood and the Power of the Heart

Picture by Matthew Fang

I’m in an epiphanic mood today – matter of fact, whenever I truly appreciate you being you, a flower being a flower and the house being the house, I’m in such a mood… only I didn’t know until today.

Becoming conscious of anything means, “There is something ‘out there’, independent of me, that alights in my consciousness as a particular form.” For instance: the flower on my desk exists out there, and when I become conscious of it – and by no means am I conscious of it all the time – its existence becomes apparent to me. But all the time it is out there, and it remains out there, whether I’m conscious of it or not. Therefor my being conscious of the flower does not really matter, neither to the flower nor to anything else out there (outside of my consciousness). This is the normal conscious state we’re all in.  And given our belief in physics and the relative permanence of things this is a very convincing way to be.

In the epiphanic mood (from the ancient Greek “ἐπιφάνεια”, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) on the other hand this way of being is turned back on its feet, or so it feels to me, saying, “Because I shine the light of my heart on whatever is anywhere – out there, in here, in between – it moves from existence into being; unless, of course, the ‘whatever is anywhere’ itself is epiphanic. Then in a very true sense two hearts resonate theophanically (from the ancient Greek  ‘ἡεοφάνεια’, theophaneia“appearance of God”).”

This presupposes that everything exists, but not in the usual physical sense where it doesn’t matter whether anyone is conscious of it or not. Rather it presupposes that everything exists in the Grand Potential and that, by the Power of the Heart, it is moved  from existence into being.

Being a radical I apply this epiphany to myself immediately. And then i see: my heart often slumbers, and when it slumbers, whatever there is, just is – I do become conscious of others and things, they do really and clearly exist but their epiphanic being is not awake. When, on the other hand, my heart is awake, like it is now, whatever exists in my surrounding truly comes into being.

The awakening of the heart’s power is, akin to our own awakening in the morning, a gradual process. And then, when awake, there are many graduations and degrees of wakefulness. Just today, when I’ve come to understand this (and remembering the many ways I experienced this before, understanding it differently or – often – not at all), I’ve been experiencing different degrees of its gentle power.

Directing this power at ‘me’ there is an all-pervading sense of wellness connected with it. And an intuition, that the Power of the Heart itself is an epiphany of a most divine kind, so really a theophany in the true sense of the word, a manifestation, incarnation of the Gods. A very first contemplation reveals the Epiphanic Mood to be compassionate by nature and a blessing for body, soul and spirit of the person.

What this does in contact with other beings, and most of all with others whose heart is awake, this only time will tell.

Revisioning Reality: The Soul of Body and Spirit

I’m starting to leave the idea of oneness behind in favor of a kind of pluralistic, polytheistic, polycentric inner/outer reality. I’m starting to contemplate that monotheism, oneness, big bang, verticality, all-pervading consciousness, etc. are part of a perspective that is always playing for dominance (and obviously is not; but downplaying what … Read morehinders it as dark, below and shadowy)…
Maybe that deep pattern is much more akin to an ecology than a hierarchy of ever more transcendent stages that dominantly encompass ‘lower’ stages; maybe the deep pattern swirls along polydirectional interactive paths and spaces in which all kinds of beings and entities “metabolise”?

(Installment 4 of the series Body, Soul and Spirit: #1, #2, #3)

Leaving the perspective of Oneness behind I’m embarking on a journey into a pluralistic, polytheistic, polycentric inner/outer reality. And as the contours of this reality come into focus I take another look at monotheism, oneness, big bang, verticality, all-pervading consciousness, philosophia perennis etc. It seems that all of these ‘memes‘ are – in many ways – playing to dominate how we make sense, how we live a spiritual, sound life. It’s as if I take down the bandages and discover an unbound face…

(As with all the posts in this series I’ll just follow a meandering path and really, do not want to?prove anything. Proof belongs to the empirical fantasy that, as efficient as it is in creating technological and scientific gadgets and theories, seems to be a major influence in creating a catastrophic ecological predicament.)

I want to start this post by saying “Thank you!” to Michel Bauwens who invited me to gather my thoughts into an article, after reading a tweet of mine that asked, “What if there is no unity connecting all and everyone but “polithy”? What if it’s not Wholeness but Manifoldness? What if fantasy is more fundamental than reality? What if we aren’t here to grow but to bloom? What if we’re not here to learn but to deepen?” You can read what followed from this tweet here. (Original material and some more here and here)
And I want to thank all my friends who, by challenging me and commenting on those different threads, have greatly contributed to the unfolding of the following images and views, aka perspectives.
Even though many matters have not been touched upon in that conversation I feel it has helped to find my bearings much better in this unfolding polyverse…

So embarking on todays exploration, the first in this very young 2010, I’ll take it for granted that the polycentric and polytheistic imagination of the outer and inner world are much more fitting with what is real than the dominant monocausal (Big Bang &/or Cosmic Consciousness, Non-Duality etc.) idea of reality. Also on my map are the images that have formed by the Living Field, images I have been looking at from different angles for many years and published about a couple of times in the latter half of 2009 (regarding participatory design & what I call ‘collaboration ecology’ here; how the living field is connected to the art of living here, and on resonance and the living field here).
My thoughts and feelings are, another disclosure, also formed by the metaphors coming from the psychology of C.G. Jung and J. Hillman on archetypes. Here “every psychic process is an image and an ‘imagining’…” (C.G. Jung) Image, as I’m using it, is very close to the original meaning of  ‘idea’ (Old Greek eidos, eidolon), which unites in one term what one sees and the means by which one sees bringing together picture/image, perspective and the seeing itself. So when I think about archetypes then I regard them as ‘being’ as much in the act of seeing as in the object seen, they express as the person, situation, pattern as much as they reside in the way I perceive them. And if I listen closely they’ll even help me interpret them…

We van also think of an archetype as a ‘plantanimal’, an animal with some plantlike characteristics. Like a plant archetypes are deeply rooted in our shared and personal inscape (the word I prefer over mind, inner realm, psyche, etc.) and nourished by forever invisible depths, and like an animal every archetype has its own will, perception, consciousness, motives, movements and being; sometimes it is tame and sweet, and at other times it threatens to devour us. Moreover I envision archetypes very much like Rupert Sheldrake imagines morphogenetic fields. These “form generating” fields attract what is akin to them through morphic resonance. So a morphogenetic “rose-field” would, for instance, help to form every rose on the planet properly (working together with the genes). You might say that the morphic field puts rosiness into roses…

An image incarnates in a form; a rose is rosy by grace of its form to which I also count the scent and everything else that invades our senses. Form reveals meaning…
So “rose” is more than a flower that you can smell and see, rose has over- and undertones that resonate with it, many layers of meaning. All of this creates the ‘morphic resonance’ of a rose. (Obviously I’m taking this way beyond Rupert Sheldrake’s ideas, as he expresses them in public, nevertheless I think they’re resonating with him very much.) Morphic fields and archetypes  constellate reality, the reality of a rose and what it evokes, and when this resonates with us, we ‘get’ what ‘it’ means.
Morphic resonance is very much like analogy, like when in our inscape we hold two or more images next to each and ‘see’ their close relationship, or resonance, our sound connection. And when we do this we are not a blank slate or a clear mirror – even if we’re in the most spacious and unattached form – we are already moved by a form, a morphic field, an archetype, a set of memes, a certain constellation of the living field that we are being at any moment, a (sub-)personality.

Taking this one step further, maybe, we could regard an archetype as an ’embedding field’, an accommodating space, a hosting ecology that forms and is formed by the participating presences. If, psychologically speaking, we look deep into whatever happens, we will eventually uncover archetypal images unfolding dynamically like a river, a stream. Our very act of discerning these archetypes is following archetypal pathways and uncovers them as we go. Uncovering your tracks as you are leaving them, being able to stay with that ecstatic pattern or ‘order,’ feels to be very valuable and nourishing. Archetypes generate values and life-styles.
You might notice that I’m using ‘morphogenetic field’, archetype and (sub-)personality almost interchangeably; that is because they seem to be different gateways to a very similar “arche“, a very basic ‘image’, an “Urbild” in German. To use a popular archetype as an example, the “inner child”: When the inner child is being me, clothed with my character, in my particular ‘colors’, the inner child in you will immediately resonate — as in morphic resonance or because it touches a similar (sub-)personality. Obviously, if your inner child is being repressed by “the bully” or maybe the “critic” or “protector”, that particular archetype, morphic field, (sub-)personality will then try to repress or control me. There’s nothing really personal about this happening, unless an ego is involved; otherwise it is just two archetypes, two archetypal ‘inscape images‘ encountering each other…

Whatever we see (in the many ways you can interpret this word) is a form (morphe) in our inscape, and whether we like it or not, our inscape is closely linked and in many respects the same as our imagination. And here I’m not talking about what derogatorily is called “fantasy” by those under the influence of the scientific hero on his quest to find the Theory to explain Everything: I’m talking about the living field of images that continually and dynamically constellate the Common Inscape we call reality.
I imagine the Common Inscape to be an ecology of influences, where “persuasion” or Eros is one direction and “necessity” or Ananke another, maybe like “up” and “down” in 3D space.   These two poles of Common Inscape give a directionality to what becomes, is, and was present in the collective unconsious, the Living Field of resonances and analogies, the manifold streams and interweavings of meaning-making. This weaves the web that constitutes the presences of reality. Not all, of course, as there is always unresolvable Mystery in being present, or presencing, a mystery that incarnates in the celebration of “I’m here!” – wherever and whatever this may be.

Our Common Inscape is the hosting space in which also “physical reality” unfolds according to very strict habits, habits which we call natural law. But obviously this particular niche of the Common Inscape is just a certain region within the larger ecology. The Common Inscape — or world-soul if you like — doesn’t have an outside, so maybe the proper name should be Common Scape, but given the dominant memes I keep using inscape, and common inscape for the ecology that every personal inscape participates in and shapes to a certain degree. From deeply unattached, enlightened presences to very lush, extremely involved presences living by “The only way out is through.” From people who absolutely surrender to “the way things are”, worshippers of necessity, Ananke, to persuaders and seducers who attract by the power of the images they evoke in our inscape, our personal garden in the Common Inscape.

Our guiding images: the archetypes that live through us in our inscape, appearing in imagination, the home of the images by which we see, collaborating with the images we do see as objects and the Unknown. The images, the presences and archetypes constellate along the lines of the meanings we uncover. I say uncover — or reveal — because it seems that the meaning comes from the constellation, the imago that I see, and I receive it, the meaning oozes out of the deep form of the ‘situation’ or ‘being’, from the presence. We might uncover this deep form by asking, “What is the archetypal pattern along the lines of which the present moment unfolds? What is the archetypal melody that is arranging the shape of the unfolding moment?”
And, taking this as cue, I ask myself right now “So what is the archetypal pattern of the present situation?  What unfolds right now and who is thus embodied, worshipped, calling for attention?” (Writing this post and contemplating it while I edit.)

There is the pattern of my learning: In writing this post I learn what I think by turning it into something I can tell you, reading this posting. Obviously I also hope that some of you feel like adding something to the comment section to expand my horizon on what I think I wrote by writing about what you think I wrote.
This part of the pattern I can feel like a reaching out from, physically, the larger heart-area of my body. It also feels like I can sense your presence right now; a presence that might travel in time from your present, as you’re reading it, into your past and my presence, as I’m writing this right now and when I’ll be editing it before publishing. This illustrates that our Common Inscape has a different connection to time, except of course in the scientific niche where time flows mechanically and uniform, and where one second has the same length as the former and the next; but the length of a second in the the rest of the Common Inscape can be the eternity of looking in your lovers eyes or the eternity you spend on the edge of the 30 feet high tower before you jump into the water down there for the first time. Two eternal seconds of different length; two situations where seconds don’t count at all. And two seconds of falling…

Reading again the last paragraph I see another pattern of my inscape, something like inflation; like I’m blowing up balloons with different colors of the basic story I want to tell. The story is about the underlying ecology, the ecology of patterns of influence. This ecology is polycentric in every respect, meaning there is not one privileged center or meta-center (a center that is everywhere). Of course a particular ecological niche in the Common Inscape can be monocentric. There are quite a few of those. Nevertheless all are embedded in the entire ecology emerging. In the ecology of the Common Inscape there is place for monotheistic and polythesitic, for pantheistic and panentheistic, and metadox, and heterodox, and paradox views…

These views are, as has been said, already patterned by and seen with archetypically informed eyes.

So then, “What about the self?” Is the self an archetype? And what then would “Be thyself!” mean? To begin with it would certainly be the cris du coer, the heart cry of the self-archetype in constellation, ordering the presences according to its particular pattern, where  there is a self in the center seeing ‘everything and everyone else’ around itself, the center.
Those of you who have experienced Hellinger’s or similar constellation work (systemic constellations, for instance) can, I’m sure feel what I mean when I speak of archetypes constellating presences. So imagine the self-archetype to be represented by a person in a ‘physical’ constellation. We would then explore the relationship between the self and the different other archetypes present in the constellation, and we would get to hear and see the representatives of these archetypes in their dynamics. Whatever this constellation will look like, it will be a Pantheon with some top influencers and some lesser influencers, different kinds of gods. If we ask and bring in more archetypes that belong to the larger ensemble expressing in, as the entirety of a person, we get an image of the soul. Soul, the most profound term for what we’ve been calling inscape so far. (The Common Inscape being the world-soul.)

The ecology of the inscape, of the soul is my main concern in this series of loosely connected blog-postings. And soul is everywhere – soul is not located, but associated by ‘strong analogy’ and resonance with our whereabouts. The soul is so much like you and so strongly resonates with you, that you might as well call it your soul; and also, we don’t have a soul, but soul has us, we are soul’s humans. What we take to be ourselves is more precisely a particular garden in soulscape, in Common Inscape. You and I, we all are soul’s unique per-sona (Old Greek, “sound through”), its coordinates and coordinators in the dynamic constellation of the living field’s ecology.

This shows, I guess, that body and spirit that are embedded in soul, in Common Inscape. We are, body, mind and spirit, inhabitants of Common Inscape, participating in a polyverse ecology whose ‘regions’ are the archetypes that influence everything within their sphere including us when passing through.

Body, Soul and Spirit 1: Modes of being alive

This is the very first installment of what I hope will become a Body, Soul and Spirit series of posts that will meander around most of the topics that keep fascinating me since a while.

Starting with a meeting with a great and lovely man in Basel, Switzerland who remembers a long line of incarnations in a, for me, absolutely credible way and context, I’ve started to reconsider most – and in the end probably all – of my convictions connected with body, soul, spirit, consciousness, life and what, who and why we are. (In my hippie-days Death used to be a more or less constant companion, and now s/he is in a new way, faced with the endingness of individual life a couple of times recently. This surely also plays a role: a renewed fascination with each night’s fading of awareness and the life of dreams, and the reappearance of more or less the same person in consciousness upon waking up…)

I will not be very philosophical, in the usual sense of that word, about this, even though I’m in love (philo) with wisdom (Sophia). This inquiry is also very personal, anecdotal and hopefully at times poetical. I might also rave and be full of pathos for something or other… we’ll see. What’ll be my guide, or should I say guides?, are my fascinations with what appears in the theater of what it is to be ‘me’. I could, of course, also call it the arena or the clearing – that space in which matters, things, imaginations, illusions and the real alight; what we ordinarily call consciousness, that mode of being alife that ever eludes our grip of understanding; trying to understand consciousness is as if the eye were trying to see itself, when the best it can do is see itself reflected in a mirror.

Modes of being alive

Being conscious, aware; being taken; in a pensive mood, reflecting on important and not so important, but urgent matters; reverie; witnessing, choiceless awareness; in the flow, totally immersed in sensual immediacy… many of the possible modes of being alive, and some of them mutually exclusive. When, for instance, I’m in a reflective mode – and mood, as often I am these days – I can’t really witness being reflective more than generally, can’t reflect and be choicelessly aware and without judgement at the same time. Isn’t reflecting closely considering a matter, the way the soul participates in life for instance, and looking what this means, what are the concepts being nourished on soul and what are relevant experiences, and what have interesting persons said about this matter? Witnessing this reflection I wouldn’t follow one thread or another but rather I’d let them all unfold as they please as, also, sensations of breath come up and unfold and whatever else unfolds or pops up in consciousness. Witnessing is mostly passive, and only active in extracting oneself from being caught up in any of the phenomena that are witnessed.

adi_da_samraj2Certainly, when in a deeply enlightened mode of awareness, everything can be done or not done – but then there is no witness, no anyone, and, really it is so beyond anything that means something to me as human that I’m not really interested in ‘getting there’ again. Also, those that are supposed to be there – claiming it for themselves or others claiming it on their behalf, the followers or disciples – do not have any characteristics that seems truly valuable; on the contrary, there seems to be an atmosphere of megalomania around them, an air of absolute altitude, an assumed divinity that unpacks as utterly undesirable social context. The unresolved power-issues around that mode of aliveness in our day and age – enlightened teachers abusing their students – are such that however true and beautiful that mode is from the inside of it, it is best left alone.

On the other side of the spectrum, or so it seems, is flow, a mode of being alive that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has made popular; flow as total immersion into what you’re doing. In sports it’s been called ‘being in the zone’. Witnessing could be said to be transcendent to everything that appears and flow as being totally immanent – you’re totally in it. You can witness the flow of events but then you’re not in the flow because being in the flow collapses any kind of witnessing as activity that plays a role, even though there is a particular kind of awareness available. But it’s more that the awareness of it is part of the flow as a whole than that the flow would happen within consciousness. For me this happens in dancing with closed eyes, easily, or in something called body-flow, where the body can just do what it feels like doing… It’s mostly a very sensual experience, being in a physical sensing mode.

Seems I had to do some explaining to come to the main dish I’m serving here which is that these modes of being alive are in a very large sense mutually exclusive. We are polymorphs, being with many (poly) forms (morphe) and – something I might pursuit at a later time – maybe there is really no unity below all this; although there is the idea that “Isness” – a German term coming from Meister Eckhart, “Istigkeit” – would describe that essential unity, something Mister Tolle calls The Power of Now. Nevertheless we cannot both be in the flow and witnessing at the same time. We could do that in a team, with a third friend then reflecting on what we’re doing, you in the flow, me being choicelessly aware of all this. Which brings me to another very mysterious mode of being that I’ve been blessed to participate in at times: the mode of we-fullness, as I keep calling it, the mode of being with others in such a way that you are deeply convinced and experience yourself to partake of a collective being, the ‘circle-being’ , the first inkling of a collective consciousness, I think, the becoming aware as a living multi-personal field.

foodBack to the main dish. As we do not eat hors d’oevre, main dish and dessert all at once, as that would maybe not taste so great, or at least very different from tasting them separately, so this goes for the modes of being alive. The “One Taste” (Ken Wilber’s diary-like book on being in non-dual mode most of the time) is really a “special taste”, a “particular taste” that some people like and evangelize about; but it is neither superior to other tastes, unless you like it, of course, nor is it the basic essence of all other dishes. The commonality is that it’s all food, but that doesn’t make it one, dish.

Honoring all meals and dishes we are served by life and psyche, by being and soul, by the gods and whoever else cooks them (including all the cooks inside of us) means neither reducing them to the recipes nor to their essential ingredients but eating them with mouth, nose and everything else, actually tasting the meals and the company we eat them in.

Emperors_New_Clothes

We’re polymorphs, able to take on many forms – or maybe it’s forms that take us on; it’s voices that speak us, maybe the voice of the enlightened spirit, the pensive wizard, the flowing joy, the heroic responsible person, the mystic poet and so endless on. There is no need, whatsoever, to become monotheistic about diversity, to call on our unity, to invoke our oneness, to go for the One that keeps it all together. That, as it reveals itself to me more and more obviously, is the naked emperor whose new clothes of the unity of his realm really do not amount to anything but the ego’s (or hero’s) vanity. Yes, in a certain mode of being alive I have experienced an all-pervading oneness, an ecstatic experience par excellence. But it is only in reflection that I can turn this into the essential or absolute or superior or ‘real’ (maybe even with capital letters); a reflection I’ve followed for most of my life. But not so anymore as I’ve come to honor the multitude of meals and cooks, all feeding the soul.

And this post, quite obviously, has been created in a reflective mode of being.

Resonance & the Living Field

In recent weeks I’ve been contemplating the living field and how it operates.
In “The Living Field, Participatory Design & Collaboration Ecology” one of the important points was, apart from taking a close look at what kinds of fields we are dealing with and some other matters, that processes like participatory design and community building are very much linked into the living field and are really an expression of it.
In “The Living Field & the Art of Living” I looked much more at what it reveals and how to constellate a living field in such a way that art emerges, the epiphany of beauty.

These last couple of days my contemplations went more into how we are connected within the living field, sparked of by some writings and tweets that were implicitly based on the assumption that there really is a division or separation between subject and object, as for instance in the thoughts so brilliantly put together by Robert Kegan where he says that human development mainly proceeds by matters becoming an object that previously were part of the subject. A fear, for instance, that we are not aware of and that rules our life as part of our identity, as part of the subject, and by becoming aware of it it becomes an object that we have some distance from and that therefor we can think about. This assumption is also behind Ken Wilber’s idea of the evolutionary “transcend and include” movement of consciousness. (I’m aware that I cannot do justice to the subtle thinking behind all this, but for my purposes what I just said is enough).
Our thinking about almost everything, as shown in the above examples, is very much rooted in the assumed dichotomy between subject and object.We are never shown to be fuzzily sobjective or ubjective, which – I’m sure – is almost always the case…

When I tried to ‘open source’ my own basic spiritual conviction about two years ago I came up with the following statement (this is the current version: v4.1), “Consciousness – upon close inspection – is not located in the head or in any other place. It is part of being bodily alive. Individual consciousness emerges within a living field of being known and experienced by ‘others.’ Upon appreciative self-reflection and we-full co-inspection, consciousness appears to be continually and dynamically self-organizing as relational presence in natural, social, personal, spatio-dynamic and spiritual ecologies.”
AAs you can see from this statement a disembodied universal consciousness separate from appearance does not make sense to me; people and things do not appear in consciousness, as planets, suns and comets appear in space, for instance, but everyone and everything arises with some kind of consciousness (at least for us; can’t speak for a cat, a tree or a stone). An example for what I mean is how the letter A arises in the black background (illustration on the left). The background is only background by grace of the letter arising ‘in front’ of it and the other way around.
m&b

That individual consciousness emerges within a living field of being known and experienced by others originally dawned on me – even though I wouldn’t have expressed it like I do now – when I was present at the birth of my son. The way mother and child looked at each other right after birth was an almost tangible field. (There is a small time window when the newly born baby does actually focus very clearly; since birth complications led to me seeing him first I know what this deep unwavering gaze looks like and does to you.) Mother is melting into baby and baby into mother…
When all is normal, the child’s consciousness emerges in the field that mother, and later father and young one form. It is almost as if in this small and then ever expanding group/situation the living field itself grows into consciousness and the individual being. The child – and of course the ‘others’ – are each intelligent nodes, attractors, vortexes expressing, and partially localizing this living field consciousness. And, of course, non of the participating beings organizes the consciousness for the others – what emerges comes about within the field they all form.
Individual consciousness, self-reflection etc. is the living field extending into the endless depth that forms in that region of experience that we call ‘inside’. The localized consciousness, the I, the ego is one of the great evolutionary ‘inventions’ helping us to grow the cultures we are embedded in…

I keep using the living field metaphor because it allows me to think of subject and object without doing away with the whole concept of the actual existence of a subject and an object, like in Advaita or Neo-Advaita or in similar spiritual – usually patriarchal – traditions. There is nothing illusory about subject and object, but neither is it real in the sense a table or computer screen are real, rather subject and object appear within the relational or ‘relative’ field that we happen to find ourselves in, the foundational reality of being/becoming. As an individual we may be intrinsically attached to a particular body but our person, our individuality and consciousness are a localized expression of what we are embedded in: a larger whole, a whole that we cannot be separated from. This whole is what I keep referring to as ‘living field’, a wholeness in which there is indeed an I and You as much as there is a he, she, and us and a they and it; not as things, not as objects or subjects really but as poles of the living field, the multi-polar field brimming with aliveness. So in a meeting with another person I and You immediately form a more or less coherent ‘bubble’ in the living field in which the two main poles are, well, You and I. And this also goes for I and it, us and them, and so endlessly on – multi-polar situations in flux.

What then is the multi-polar living field ‘made of’? What keeps the poles in such dynamic situations related in just the way they are? How are these constellations constituting themselves dynamically?

By resonance (or the relative or obvious lack thereof).

We all intuitively know what resonance is (scientific explanations; a java-applet of resonances in a string).
k&gIt is thrilling when first you discover that phenomenon, or so it was to me as a kid. Me holding a big guitar on my lap and someone playing on a piano – the guitar’s body was vibrating! Oh the thrill of it. Couldn’t get enough! Sheer magic at work, not the magic of stories, but a magic I could feel with my whole body!

As I was contemplating all of this Helen (As tempting as it is to draw lines between synchronicity and resonance, I’ll leave that for another time.) tweeted this quote by Edgar Mitchell, “Resonance is nature’s way of transferring information.
At first glance this feels right, and the quote was rightly retweeted a couple of times, but then… Contemplating on resonance, speaking of “transferring informations” seems severely limited. That idea is still very much married to ‘something’, information, going from one ‘place’ to the ‘other’. Resonance as I intuit it, and as these ideas on the living field seem to demand, is more akin to a dance. When dancing, is one partner transferring information to the other? Well, yes, one could say that they are but that doesn’t make too much sense, does it? A dance is not about transferring information (well, most of the time – when I was younger I wanted to transfer, often, that I was fancying the girl I was dancing with…).
But I don’t think resonance is about transferring information, again most of the time; it seems much more that information transference is a side-effect. Resonance, like a dance, is about enjoyment and expression, it is not really about anything but itself – it is its own meaning and expresses it in its movement. isadora20duncanSomeone once told me that Isadora Duncan, the famous dancer from the beginning of the last century, upon being asked by a reporter what her dance meant, said, “If I could say it I wouldn’t dance it.”

Just so it seems to me that it is the living field that is in-forming, constellating, dynamically shaping the rhythms and sounds of all that it encompasses. A living field than is a resonant field and is not accessible as an object, as one would be able to do if one were a subject. It is the personal resonance that allows us to be ‘informed’ by the other. It is my resonance with you, and your resonance with me that forms and is in turn formed by the quality of the field and the consciousness that emerges between us.

But, one might ask, “Doesn’t that mean that it is the resonance in or as the subject that this is about?” – thereby expressing that really I have gained nothing by using this kind of language and these ideas. Doesn’t an outside source (you, he, she, it, they, the situation) set up a vibration that I, then, resound with?
Resonance, in the classical sense that believes in separate entities, already is not a one-way affair. As soon as I begin to resonate I feed this vibration back to where it came from and strengthen that vibration. And so, even if the old separative concepts were true, properly looking I’d say that the ‘sound-field’ as a whole is the most relevant information in this situation. So it just takes a small switch in our understanding to see the living field as foundational; what’s between us as a much more meaningful influence than the poles, the subject and object. Or to put it another way, You cannot reduce the living field to the sum of its participating beings and entities.

resonanceIf you look at the above illustration: Is A (the + pole) transferring information to B (the – pole)? Or do we see a graphic rendering of a resounding field? And what about the center of the picture, or any other place, where there is ‘nobody’ right now – but could potentially be?
Most likely we all see a whole resonant field here, a highly coherent region within the larger living field. We see dancing, a graph of a dance we can derive information from, if we like, depending on where we happen to position ourselves or where we are localized. And yes, surely we might be able to determine what started this coherent field; someone who has seen its birth and history might be able to answer that question.
But it’s surely much more relevant how this sounds, how to tune into it in such a way that the field is enhanced and an ever increasing richness of overtones and undertones can emerge. And more important than the separation between the two subjects or objects A and B is their resounding connectedness and the meaning of this that can unfold as a fractal in the participating poles to resonate as a much larger whole…

There are many avenues of contemplation and highways of wholesome action that a resonant living field opens. Reducing all this to subject and object certainly is possible and yields (lots of?) empiric knowledge. Yet I believe we hear the first verse of a melody, nay the first movement of a symphony of the highly coherent resounding field of aliveness from the polyphonic future… and it’s wind lift us up, as we’re learning to fly into its unknown skies.

Learn To Fly from Christian Letruria

The Living Field & the Art of Living

childrendetail3-cory_enchWikipedia: Art is the process or product of deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions. It encompasses a diverse range of human activities, creations, and modes of expression, including music and literature.

In my most recent post I have been revisiting what I’ve called the Living Field, how I experience it and how I’ve worked with it and still do. Michel Bauwens of the P2P foundation extracted a “typology of fields” from that post and talked about it here.
I don’t know if it was the “Goldberg-Variations field” that Jascha Rohr tweeted about in response that got me thinking about art as a particular type of constellation of the living field or if it was the Wikipedia definition of art; it might also have been the dream I had this morning of creating a large scale systemic constellation in some unknown land and being struck by the beauty of what emerged…

One of the most amazing characteristics of a living field is that it creates epiphanies, realizations or comprehensions of the (larger) essence or meaning of something. In systemic constellations this might be some explicit pattern in the system one inquires into that is surfacing as an “Eureka!” experience, a surprising insight into why or how things are as they are; in a circle that has managed to surrender into a highly coherent we-fulness the epiphany can be the tacit experience of individually being embedded in a higher We or “Circle Being”; and in a Dynamic Presencing constellation it can be the undeniable sense of unity with ‘all-there-is’.
The living field is, it seems, childrendetail1-cory_enchcontinually creating or triggering epiphanic in-formation in living beings. And since my main gate to the spiritual realm is beauty – truth is beauty, love is beauty, the gods are beauty, the essence of life is beauty etc. – to talk about epiphanies is to talk about essential beauty. Beauty – something many of us look for in art – is an epiphany more or less strongly altering our conscious state, momentarily or sometimes even permanently changing us by changing the way we perceive the world and interact with it.

In previous posts I have suggested that a living field is a particular – often dynamic – constellation of elements and/or beings in space and time. It can be regarded as the network, the mesh of relations between all these elements and beings involved. We could also imagine a living field as a web of relationships that in and of themselves already are dynamic, comparable to a melody which can only be enjoyed or understood in their flow.
[This makes me think of the neuronal network in the brain and that this particular constellation gives rise to the ultimate form of beauty: consciousness.]

Take these lines of poetry:

Here are the miracle-signs you want: that
you cry through the night and get up at dawn, asking,
that in the absence of what you ask for your day gets dark,
your neck thin as a spindle, that what you give away
is all you won, that you sacrifice belongings,
sleep, health, your head, that you often
sit down in a fire like aloes wood, and often go out
to meet a blade like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,
those are the signs.

But you run back and forth listening for unusual events,
peering into faces of travelers.
“Why are you looking at me like a madman?”
I have lost a friend. Please forgive me.

— from Acts of Helplesssness by Rumi

What makes the hair on my skin stand as I read the poem? Is it how I relate to it? Is it how words and meaning of the lines relate to each other as in, “to meet a blade like a battered helmet“? I don’t know. But following the trace of the experience in my imagination/memory it feels as if at a certain moment all the relationships between words, lines, meaning, feeling ‘gel’ into a highly coherent whole. The ecology of the living field has reached a tipping point and evokes an insight, feelings, childrendetail2-cory_enchconnectedness, inspiration – sheer beauty.
This leads me to the understanding that creating the ecology and atmosphere for a living field to resonate with high coherence is very much akin to art. This type of creation, though, goes way beyond the above mentioned definition of art as “deliberately arranging elements in a way that appeals to the senses or emotions“. Creating living field art is also related to the question that shapes the boundary of that ecological niche of highly coherent resonance, asking, “Which dimension am I going to call on, explore and what are the ways, values and means I set out with?”

We know nothing of the living field in ‘ordinary circumstances’ – it is epiphanies that indicate the whereabouts of the high resonant spaces within it that can be used for artful constellation. And then, once the artist has gone through the epiphanic process provided by the living field, s/he can constellate circumstances and deliberately arrange elements so as to propagate an epiphany-prone ‘object of art’. A conversation, a poem, singing, growing a garden, sitting in a circle, writing, dynamic presencing, participatory design, intense we-fulness, the blossoming of the heart-chakra, cooking, painting, cuing up, communing with disembodied entities, a smile on the bus… it is epiphanies that turn these moments and movements into art, making space for beauty in form. There is, of course, always a magic at work, something forever out of control of the artist. Without it all these moments and ‘objects of art’ lose their color and feel; without this mysterious extra it all lacks authentic, beautiful presence in our real-life-stream.

childrendetail-cory_enchAn artist, a living field artist recognizes this ‘magic’, s/he follows its scent to where there is ‘light in the atmosphere’ that is on the brink of emerging as epiphany. S/he’ll arrange – often without knowing how – the words, gestures, colors, beings so that their relationships invoke and evoke, tease out what flows and resounds between them; these streaming sounds, the melody of the artist’s doing, entrain the relating participants into epiphany-prone circumstance. This is where everybody and everything involved is unfolding in a deeper, higher, utterly satisfying space, round and resting in itself, and expressing in religious people spiritually, in the aesthetic ones as beauty, in inquisitive beings as realizations and insights, in philosophic and scientific minds as truth, in life’s sailors as the winds of love, in kosmic space cowboys as bliss-bubbles, in earthlings as the joyful gravity of reality.

Becoming an artist of life entails more than sniffing out, co-creating, co-evolving the forms and ecologies for epiphany, it is developing spiraling processes that enlarge the circle of resonant living fields in the manifest and virtual realms by participating in their emergence wherever that may be, “making it up as we go” with all the other feelers of the collective world-being we truly are.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.

Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

childrenstorymural-cory_ench

Mural by Cory Ench

Enlightening the Passions – Day 12

“Thanks to the human heart by which we live; thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears.” – William Wordsworth

Last night, brushing my teeth I looked in the mirror, and what I saw made my inner critic come out. The feeling that goes with that is very similar to distrust which is the negative of curiosity; curiosity being in this case “taking a look at myself, trusting that there will be something here that can cause delight, new understanding, an interesting game… etc.”
So I was looking at myself distrusting, and then noticed the feeling. Upping the volume a bit it then became possible to switch back and forth between distrust and curiosity. (If you look at the picture, what do you see?)

And then I realized that actually every evening, when I see myself there, there is also feeling… “I’ve never really noticed before,” I thought, “that the heart is always at work – it’s never silent.” Well, that’s a conclusion, of course, because my heart could well be silent when I’m not listening. But as soon as I take notice I can hear it feel…

What does the heart sound like? I don’t think I can ever hear it’s pure song, at least I don’t think I ever did. Being conscious will always color it with aspects of consciousness which are in turn resonating with the particular circumstances the heart is noisy about. If, as I did in front of the mirror, I intentionally change the headline of the melody from a skeptic to a curious one, from “He doesn’t look too good” to “I wonder what a change in the lighting would do to the looks of this face”, then the the tune my heart sings doesn’t necessarily change, but it feels different.

Hmmm, maybe not too clear.
Listening a while to my heart during my morning experimental focusing time, during my “meandering in the feeling space” time, I saw that consciousness always has intention; I’m always focusing / defocusing in some way (I’m dubious if the Buddhist ’empty mirror’ consciousness, the pure witness, exists as a reality – I know it does exist as metaphor for making sense of a particular kind of experience; I have used it myself to understand certain states I’ve visited).
Consciousness is always alighting on something, some content, some concept, some intuition, some revelation. It’s like the light – there is no light in empty space; at least you cannot know if there is or isn’t; so you need to hold something in light’s path that it can bounce off from to know if it is there.
So whatever I’m feeling in it’s purity, consciousness will also color it one way or another. And what is happening within me since I started this experiment is a kind of meshing up, a disentanglement and purification – alchemy comes to mind again.

What is important about this? When I look at you or anybody my heart sounds with that, and my consciousness (in which there are streams from the past, present and even the future) colors it – and in turn is conditioned by the hearts melody in a, most likely highly complex, kind of free jazz, to use a musical metaphor. So again, what are all these thoughts good for when exploring being with feelings unconditionally?
Well, for one I discover that there actually doesn’t seem to be an “unconditionally.” That’s an imagination that seems to come from overrating the power of consciousness.  But more importantly it helps me when I look at you, when I enter the feeling-field with an other person.
I might see you as looking skeptically at me, whereas you just feel curious.
Being super-social animals we do have an amazing capacity to accurately feel the persons we are with. But even if – and I actually believe we do – we feel exactly as our friend, even if our mutual hearts are in unison, we still can and do sound often quite different. It takes time to tune in to each other to get wonderfully polyphonic… (and I’m not talking about the make-believe symphoney here that so often is the suffering that we sell to each other as “I’m feeling fine.”)

So today was dedicated to entering into the feeling-field with these considerations in the background (I only formulated them now, though). And I feel that my body is very much relaxing when I listen to my heart in a more consistent way…


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Enlightening the Passions – Day 10 (Interlude)

A calm day starting out beautifully. And the interesting fact that, if a day starts like this it’s hard to focus on the more challenging feelings. So I took that as an invitation to explore – with my imagination, a major tool if used with care and not to avoid this, that or the other – my family feelings which I hardly have. That’s not a surprise, I guess, for people who have been following this experiment from the start, and it’s natural to me. I hardly remember my father’s birthday or my mother’s. I need to make a mental note of the birthday of my girlfriend and her daughter, and I actually don’t know the one of my grandchild.
This is shocking!
Not to me.

I’ve tried a couple of times in my life to at least get a semblance of family-feelings going, but it never worked. My guess is that in an important period in my young years something didn’t develop that later simply doesn’t develop anymore. So I have to make do with a sense of loyalty. And I do have a keen sense of that.
A couple of days before I started this experiment one evening I was asking myself, “What would I like to leave as a legacy?” And it was very surprising for me to realize that one of the 3 ‘things’ I would love to leave for those that come after me was “a happy family”. And by family I mean the person closest to me, my son and my girldfriend’s daughter, my grand-son, my next of kin, my soul-brothers and soul-sisters, which are not part of the same bloodline but in some sense are much closer to me than most of my kin. So actually I mean a “happy extended family”. And I really don’t know what I can do to help this come true – my guess these days is, if I can consistently be a true human, and by that I mean someone who is feelingly, intelligently and spiritually present with the whole field of life and living, than this will possibly take care of itself; it will be a consequence of the way I live…

Actually one of the fascinating discoveries in between the high waves of strong feelings that are so common these days is what I’ve come to call feeling-field. It seems to me that with/through this field we are much more connected to life than through our intelligence and even our consciousness.
Oddly enough, in writing this I show that I still believe there to be a clear demarcation line between consciousness and feeling. Yet, feelingly observing those nearest to me it seems like there is no such line. We meander in between consciousness and feeling most of the time.

Con-science means ‘knowing with’, and one of the things that are very, very clear is that we live in a society that has been over-emphasizing consciousness for some hundreds of years . This resulted in an education that is all about knowledge; feeling is a weakness that we still suffer from but we’ll conquer that in the long run.
Well, we can’t really leave it behind, can we? We can put the volume down so much so that it seems like it disappeared – dispassionate science, objective knowledge, processes and situations as ‘things’ behaving according to ‘natural laws’, and so on. All of this has led us into a world where we cannot feel with (com-passion: with feeling) others except in a very abstract or hollywoodesk-romantic kind of way. Just look at the way that around these days the professional helpers dance around our wallet hoping to profit from the Christmas-sentimentality by showing pictures of children with huge eyes and thin, extremely thin limbs.

Descartes’ saying, that we have to torture nature so that it will reveal its secrets, might be regarded as extreme in our day and age but we’re still acting accordingly. In physics the Holy Grail (the myth of the Unified Theory which, supposedly would explain everything physical by reducing it to extremely tiny billiard balls governed by unbreakable rules that are thought to explain everything) is now closer, the conviction goes, because we have just finished for 10 billion or so the biggest machine of all times that smashes particles into each other. Dissect, smash, separate, analyze, torture, freeze, kill, these activities are supposed to reveal reality. Yes, indeed, we live in a civilized world! Feeling is a subjective luxury that governs economy by herd mentality on Wall Street and all the other stock exchanges all over the world – who, by the way through the mechanisms of extreme greed brought us to the brink of systemic change where everybody can now see that “the emperor wears no clothes”, as Andersen’s fairy tale goes.
Truth is gained by torture of nature and greed is the feeling governing the capitalist economy – and culture, of course, and religion to bless the large masses of us who buy our bliss at the prize of ignoring what we feel stirring in the depth of our souls.

This is a depressing perspective, one that might depressurize you enough to stop for a moment and maybe decide to reclaim the primacy of your own experience, the nobility of your own soul’s judgment, the deep breath of your openness – for we are super-social animals that, through ages of suffering and hard learning and a century of wide spread richness (at least in the West, and in many other parts of this world as well) and individualism have the unique chance to truly develop further.
I’m learning to see, by passing through the furnace of facing myself just the way I am on the feeling level, the level that is still largely uncivilized and uncontrollable – the only control being ‘desensitizing’, making dead, denial, active ignorance and skillfully channeled romanticism – I’m feeling-seeing the wonder of our interconnectedness, the beauty that in spite of thousands of years of civilization we still have everything it takes to be here, and through the alchemical fire of what is called civilizedness, we now finally have the means to realize, for a change, the healthy consequence of what we are: super-social, so social that we could move to the next stage of evolution: the one planet, Earth, opening up to the rest of the multiverse.

I’m done glossing it over: In the presence of feeling-seeing, in the actual flow of being human with other beings, humans and otherwise, in the soulfulness of every meeting – and the dullness of the superficial that also lives here – in the experiment of passion-intelligence-spirit this world is a truly awesome place.

And I am interested…


Starting up the experiment
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 (Powerlessness)
Day 5
Day 6 (Jealousy)
Day 7 (Guilt & Jealousy)
Day 8
Day 9 (Shame)
Day 10 (Interlude)
Day 11 (Under Pressure)
Day 12
Day 13 (Clear Delight)

Day 14
Day 15 & 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19 (Dark Waves)
Day 20 (Time Out)
Day 21 (Splash)
Day 22 (Understanding)
Day 23 (Fear & Imagination)
Day 24 (Vulnerable)
Day 25
Day 26 (The Presence of The Past)
Ending the Experiment – Day 27 (Intentional Vulnerability)

Where the mind resides

We have been brought up to believe that the mind is located inside the head. But there are good reasons for thinking that this view is too limited. Recent experimental results show that people can influence others at a distance just by looking at them, even if they look from behind and if all sensory clues are eliminated. And people’s intentions can be detected by animals from miles away. The commonest kind of non-local interaction mental influence occurs in connection with telephone calls, where most people have had the experience of thinking of someone shortly before they ring. Controlled, randomized tests on telephone telepathy have given highly significant positive results. Research techniques have now been automated and experiments on telepathy are now being conducted through the internet and cell phones, enabling widespread participation.

Speaker: Rupert Sheldrake
Rupert Sheldrake, Ph.D. is a biologist and author of more than 75 technical papers and ten books, the most recent being The Sense of Being Stared At. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities, was a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge and a Research Fellow of the Royal Society. He is currently Director of the Perrott-Warrick project, funded from Trinity College Cambridge.

http://www.youtube.com/v/JnA8GUtXpXY

Knowledge is…

… to man what pheromones are to ants, and the dance is to bees: it is a way to navigate in life to the greater good of all. Love, of course, also is a way to navigate, and so is ‘following your heart’, as is inquiring into the truth and beautification.

Take this quote:

Human consciousness is not located in the head, but is immanent in the living body and the interpersonal social world. Ones consciousness of oneself as an embodied individual embedded in the world emerges through empathic cognition of others. Consciousness is not some peculiar qualitative aspect of private mental states, nor a property of the brain inside the skull; it is a relational mode of being of the whole person embedded in the natural environment and the human social world. — Evan Thompson in “Human Consciousness – from Intersubjectivity to Interbeing”; A Proposal to the Fetzer Institute 1999

If, as I too tend to believe, consciousness is (most of all) immanent, the quest for transcending whatever moment or situation is basically pass 🙂

So we engage with each other, collaborate, work together and become each other’s apprentice. This way we’ll serve the healing of the planet best (I would say, understanding — which is my navigation-tool here now — that there are uncountable other ways as well).

We are the next Buddha

Helen wrote in her blog “Why the next Buddha will be a collective.” I hope to show with this article where I am coming from in this regard so that in the time to come we can have beautiful dialogues, trialogues or any other -logues to help this meme propagate.

I guess, for me it all started in earnest when in the summer of 2005 one of my trainees asked, “What about we?” I guess, he asked that because I was using my own path and experience as a template for the spiritual journey, as most spiritual teachers do. Because that’s what I felt myself to be at that time, a spiritual teacher. And, being steeped in a guru culture, my role was centered around having a ‘working relationship’ with the divine, by whatever name you want to call it, and my teaching and methods were congruent with that. (I won’t go into the aspect of the “teaching beyond words and scripture” that also is very much a part of this; some of how I looked at these matters you find here.)
The question really struck me, and so I started to read a lot of Martin Buber, and what he had to say about the possible quality of true relationship moved me deeply.

Wer in der Beziehung steht, nimmt an einer Wirklichkeit teil, das heißt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloß an ihm und nicht bloß außer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu können. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die Berührung des Du ist.
Das Ich ist wirklich durch seine Teilnahme an der Wirklichkeit. Es wird umso wirklicher, je vollkommener die Teilnahme ist.

Being in relationship one participates in reality, that means, one participates in a being that is not only one’s inner being nor is it the being outside of one. All reality is a becoming-real in which I participate without my being able to take possession of it. Without participation there is no reality. Where there is a taking into possession to oneself there is no reality. The more perfect the participation the more immediate is the touching of the thou.

The I is real through its participation with and in reality. And it becomes more real the more perfect the participation is.

(My translation of Martin Buber: Das Dialogische Prinzip – Ich und Du – Seite 65-66)

Over time starting to understand what Martin Buber is indicating I left behind my formal conviction that was very much founded on experiences interpreted through Eastern philosophy and spirituality. “Thou art That” (Vedanta)… “I and the world are one” (Upanishads)… “I am is all there is” (Advaita). And I was moved to explore in all manners possible to me, what is between us.

During the winter seminar of the same year I went for a walk in a wooded valley nearby. The afternoon sun was coloring the snow golden white, the gurgling streamlet hid underneath a thin layer of ice and a deep blue sky spanned over the wonderful silence, when all of a sudden I saw a flock of finches, sparrows, stock doves and a rusty brown bird with a many-colored tail that is very common here. Different birds in one flock settling in a couple of trees and starting a game, it seemed, flying from branch to branch and tree to tree: a fink jumped-flew onto a branch on which a dove was sitting who then flew to a branch on which one of the brown birds was sitting and so on. And it seemed to have a rhythm: the birds in a game I used to play as a child called “Bäumchen wechsle dich” – a delightful jumping and a flying all over.
I had never seen anything like it or heard of it before, yet this experience befitted my development of the period very well. It isn’t important what species of bird I am with – what matters is engaging with what is between us, “Can we find a common game?” I wrote in my diary. Because then we can play with all species of birds in the trees of life. You show yourself as the sparrow or the dove you are, as the crane or the eagle or any other bird you find yourself to be, and you are taking the other birds just the way they are… and then something new, unknown, a never before seen or experienced game begins. Whatever song you sing let’s hear it, and listen to our melody, because without both the game, our joyous, delightful, mutual game cannot happen.

That spring and summer I was in trouble because I started to see that I couldn’t go on with my old way of teaching in which I was the one that “has it”, and the people coming to me didn’t – or where not conscious of it. Not, that I didn’t feel connected anymore to the deep sources of life and being, not that there were no more Satori’s or deep mystical states – quite the contrary many of my days were spent in a very juicy sense of lightness, as if bubbles of champagne were coursing through my veins. But it was what I and others made out of this that was the trouble. It was the ‘vertical spirituality’ in the patriarchal mode that I became wary of. It reminded me very much of feudalism, a social structure that I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
And as my opposition was growing (the article linked above was written in that period; you can see how very critical it is) so was my insight into what I came to call the emerging archetype of the “between us”. There is the huge P2P movement, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0, etc.; the Internet has opened a huge gate towards the culture of collaboration in the production of knowledge and understanding but also of products and services.
I also came in touch with spiritual teachings and philosophies that are deep and and encompassing, thorough and practical and sophisticated as well, which apparently are not in need of the ‘vertical stance’ (John Heron‘s participatory spirituality, Jorge Ferrer‘s revisioning of transpersonal psychology, Alan Rayner’s inclusionality, Samuel Bonder‘s wakening down in mutuality… to name but a few).

I also saw that many of the methods I was using already for quite some time – dynamic presencing for instance – could be regarded very much as an expression of the spirit between us, the “We” (whenever I am alluding to the emerging archetype of the “between us”, which is also “the spirit between us” I will from now on be using We with capital W). And as I realized this the methods changed to incorporate this understanding. I started to realize that my real art is creating an atmosphere and situations in which the We can appear and start to move and even incorporate each and every one of us. The beauty of course is that this understanding meshes with another insight that came out of facilitating “Enlightenement guaranteed ;-)” events, a method that has become famous through Genpo Roshi who calls it “Big Mind”. Suffice it to say here that this method uses voices or sub-personalities as the main gate to understand how the human mind works. So there is not only the We between the many persons outside of us but inside of us as well. These ideas evolved into an understanding that I will sketch in more detail below.

Then in autumn and winter 2006 I went through a deep existential crisis which touched all aspects of my life, heart and mind – to put it in the metaphor I met the senex, Saturn, and it took quite some time before I could discover the We and allow it to unfold between us. But as spring dawned and with it my old friend Jupiter it was as if I started to hear a symphony – many different melodies coming together. And if I put it in language, this is how it sounds…
At this moment of our history we are on a critical path starting to leave an old view behind. If I am to sketch the perspectives of this view in a few broad strokes I would say it is basically one of centralism. It reminds me of what I think went on at the time when Kepler revolutionized the astronomical place of earth and sun. Before him most people, even the most intelligent ones, believed the earth was the center of the cosmos. But now he showed that the sun was at the center. It took a few hundred years for us then to realize that this is really not so, this cosmos does not have a center (more about this metaphor it in this article). So instead of our sun being at center we are now faced with innumerable stars and their relationships – constellations and configurations. So as beautiful as the sun might be around which I turn, and as enlightening the sun might be around which you turn, we are discovering that if we do not find the We (the movement and nourishment in our relationships and what happens or doesn’t happen in it) between us this universe starts falling apart into discrete stars and galaxies which are separated by huge stretches of empty space.

So it is very beautiful and makes deep sense that obviously this space is not empty at all; it is flowing over with the We that embraces all. And as I said, the We is making itself felt, understood, intuited all over this globe and is manifesting in many different ways – as people wanting to cooperate, to collaborate, to be in community and communion, seeing that the time of heroes (central suns) is definitely over, the time for the saviors and lone leaders that could set things right again. The world and its problems have become so complex that we can only hope to find adequate answers in “circles”of very different people where we can meet eye to eye and heart to heart – in a sort of collective leadership maybe. And this is underfoot already on a worldwide scale. The place here would not suffice to mention all the initiatives that are going on all over the world. Yet, this is one aspect of We manifesting.

Another aspect is the sense of spiritual or soul families or clans finding each other again across countries and continents. It is as if we have chosen ages ago to come together in this critical time on the planet to be midwives to what is wanting to emerge. What ever may be the case we do recognize each other and there is an immediate connection beyond words, even beyond understanding; all we do is accept it.

A third aspect manifests through what has been called the Circle Being, manifesting as a higher order of being together with an incredible coherence that draws in the individuals participating. This certainly is We, being highly coherent. (Helen has written about it here, and I have also reported a very strong experience here). The “between us” can also come into being in what has been called “a silver moment” or in German Sternstunde, “stellar hour”. In the Bible it has been alluded to – and much misinterpreted as only applying to the divine person of Jesus – as, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I am in their midst.” (Matth. 18:20)

A fourth aspect is the insight that our very consciousness itself can best be regarded as plural and not singular as a traditional mysticism has it. In the individual this shows itself as sub-personalities or the many voices that speak in us – for instance the ego, the inner child, the judge, the saboteur, the seeker, the achiever, the non-seeking mind, the inner master, the higher self etc.. So looking at our individual consciousness or psyche as a “we” rather than as an “I” would pave the way for a “circle being” to manifest inside the mind of the individual. This to me at this moment is one of the most interesting aspect of the emerging archetype.
It seems obvious that the “inner We” does not dissolve individuality, I or ego; it rather enhances its possibilities and functionality, because as the so far dominant ego realizes its embeddedness it can let go much easier of its compulsory need to control, and become part of the conductorless orchestra of the “inner We” tuning in to the “larger We” dawning on all of mankind and even, so I think, all beings and what we now still call derogatively ‘dead matter’.

This allows us to regard the emerging We as a scalable, fractal phenomenon on many and maybe even all levels. Contemplating all of this I come to the understanding that I am called – as are many others – to support and nourish these dynamic constellations of individuals and voices to configure themselves so that the transformation that is necessary for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is facilitated optimally.

Towards an Integral & Pluralistic Spirituality

deepest pic of the universeAn archetype is emerging – the archetype of a participatory, integral and pluralistic spiritual culture.

People all over the world — caring about the life on and of this planet, and experiencing themselves as embedded in continually expanding networks and environments — are seeking genuine, open and constructive dialogue and mutual support in their work towards a better world and spiritual wholeness: one planet on which all beings are at home.

Until very recently in our history values and practices have been mostly generated in vertical structures, and this is especially true regarding life-guiding or value-generating structures of learning, practice and daily life, the structures of spirituality and religion. Whereas in many ways the Internet has provided ways and means to transcend and surmount verticality and promotes a co-creative, participatory and pluralistic approach to all kinds of matters and processes (P2P, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, conscious capitalism, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0 etc.) this approach seems to be missing very much in spirituality and religion.

Also the spirituality that is now on the increase in business, psychology, politics, and numerous other fields of human endeavor is almost entirely ‘vertical’ in teaching and structure, being founded mostly on what is often called perennial philosophy. This philosophy acertains that the material world is the shadow of a higher reality, that spirituality and religion (re)establish the link between the human soul and this higher and ultimate reality, and that the Ultimate Reality, whatever name it is given, is the Absolute (principle/space) from which all existence originates and to which all will return.

Copernicus cosmic view with sun in the center

Even the post-60ies, or modern spirituality – after freeing itself from ego- and intrinsically ethnocentric views, from materialism and scientific reductionism – is still enthralled by the perennial philosophy and happily believes itself to aspire to, be informed or blessed by, and basically move around a singular Transcendent Sun common to all faiths, creeds, mysticisms and spiritual paths and practices.

This spirituality seems to resonate with the situation in astronomy when we believed that our sun was the center of the universe.
We have had to learn, though, that obviously this universe does not have a center at all or, to put it differently and just as true, the universal center is everywhere. And yet, when it comes to our spirituality we are very reluctant to take serious what we have learnt from studying the heavens astronomically. We object to the image that there are numerous Transcendent Suns around which meaning, understanding, love, devotion and divine, true and valid mystic experience revolves. And even then, surrendering one’s defenses against this understanding, one still would love to salvage some of perennial philosophy’s tenets by believing these Suns to turn around a common Center. And indeed, it seems that some Suns do; for instance the Suns of most Christian, Islamic and Jewish faiths turn around the Monotheistic Galactic Center. Yet, other Suns do not turn that way, they participate in and form other constellations in different Galaxies of our local cluster.

The present day spiritual explorer, teacher and finder is having to face a huge challenge – to come to grips with the undeniable non-centeredness of the cosmos, the plurality of suns and galaxies, the undoing of all ‘cosmic justifications’ for vertical structure and certainties. This might be as scary for us as it wasn’t when it was possible anymore to reasonably doubt Kepler’s, Copernicus’ and Newton’s discoveries. The beautiful certainties of old are evaporating, and with it what gave purpose and meaning to life. All of a sudden we find ourselves in an endlessly open universe that doesn’t turn around us or around what we hold sacred anymore. The One Transcendent Sun setting and a multitude of Stars lighting up the mysterious darkness we now find ourselves in.

This is the challenge: seeing that there are no pre-given and objective constellations in the skies anywhere, and wholeheartedly facing and embracing this freedom; moving from a bi-directional, vertical understanding of the Highest and Lowest towards an omnidirectional, participatory, co-created, radically pluralistic reality.

It dawns on us, a cosmos with innumerable Suns around which a multitude of constellations of experience, understanding, faith and meaning are configured and brought forth, all participating in the dynamic matrix of the mystery we call reality

Formerly embedded in what I’ve been calling “vertical spirituality” it was a personal existential/spiritual crisis which made me realize what I’ve tried to sketch above. Since then I have come in touch with numerous people all over the world moving in this general direction. This in turn has convinced me that, indeed, what is emerging at this time and age is more than a personal revelation. It is an archetype emerging, the archetype of a pluralistic, polycentric, participatory spirituality which is surfacing in many ways, reckognized and not yet reckognized, and being explored with numerous methods which mostly are still very much experimental.
Now, after the the crisis has led me into these truly awesome and beautiful whereabouts, exploring the consequences of such a sea-change in understanding, living, feeling and teaching, I have started assembling material for a book that I hope to write – a portrait of the emerging archetype and how it translates into action, teaching and community all over the world.

Hopefully the book-project in due time will also become a web-plattform for people wishing to communicate what is emerging here, and finally an Academy that will provide an institution where teachers can learn, where students can connect, where all of us can study and learn from each other what richness this emergence offers to us and all of mankind.

At this moment I am seeking financial support of ca. 30.000 for this project.

Thank you.

A Collective Emergence – a deep view into Andrew Cohens teaching

As part of his Evolutionary Enlightenment Teachings the spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen in an article “A Collective Emergence” speaks about what others have called “Circle Being” (Otto Scharmer), “Community Building (Scott Peck), “Circle of the Heart” etc.

Andrew Cohen is talking, of course, about what happens within the framework of a certain context — that is, people sitting together in a circle and relating to each other most of all verbally. This is an important distinction to make as the path taken into the process Andrew is speaking about plays, of course, an important role in how the “collective emergence” then will communicate/commune with and between us. As a person who is experienced using the way Andrew and his students are exploring the emergent collective (see: hieros gamos) but most of all experienced using quite a different method (I call it “Dynamic Presencing“) for exploring this emergent I think it important to explore his ideas about this phenomenon.

Andrew sets the stage by stating what consciousness is, “the intersubjective field that we all share.” I come from the point of view that there is a mystery between us that shows up in our individual consciousness, and then, when the process comes to fruition, steeps the individual in a more encompassing and all embracing consciousness. The “between-us” is a mystery, though, and taking it to actually be consciousness is premature and probably mistaken. We’ll come back to that in a while.

Andrew then says, “You should begin to ask yourself: What is it that captivates your attention?” But why should we ask this question; from my and other’s experience, there are many other interesting questions to ask to get the process going. And, by the way, I don’t think there is much respect for the participants and their authentic questions in Andrews should.

He then goes on to tell us what we will discover if we are “authentically engaging with the process”. But why pose a question or start an inquiry if you already know the answer? And again, I don’t think it is showing much respect to the emergent between-us or the people participating in the inquiry when we’re told what we’ll find if we authentically engage; there is a value judgment implicit in this statement, it says that any other outcome isn’t authentic. If we go for authenticity of all participants than it cannot be up to one person to judge who is, and who is not authentic in the process, rather it requires a much more open view and way of questioning.

He is right, surely and beautifully so, when he says, that ‘here’ we are oriented radically different in our relating to others, as we are primarily relating within the intersubjective consciousness itself. But then he again tells us what will happen to the concepts we may be exploring (the ones he said we should be exploring to begin with), that is, these concepts become secondary. But what if it is our concept to explore what actually is between us? What if we are relating to each other what is our individual take on the emergent “being”,  the “circle being” as some explorers call it?

He says, “The concepts are just what you use to manipulate the field.” But this concept,  the concept of manipulation, is flawed already. To sit together in a round of people “to engage directly with the development of consciousness” as the “intersubjective field” is already a manipulation if we take Andrew by his word, because this too is a concept.
I’m not using Andrews’s concepts when I configure a constellation for inquiring into the mystery between-us through Dynamic Presencing. I have another concept, the concept of non-verbal kinesthetic inquiry that mostly I use. Or I have the concept that ‘in the end’ we’ll be arriving at experiencing the “Circle Being” first hand.
The point I’m getting at: There is no way to not manipulate the field, as the very way we constellate ourselves (for instance by sitting in a circle and talking / being silent) is already manipulating, or if you don’t think the term is applicable, how we constellate the field is already based on certain concepts, or at the very least incorporating a particular set of concepts (and not others).

I very much like when then he says, “You find that you are one step ahead of even what you understand, and you discover that you are spontaneously acting and responding from a much more intuitive dimension of yourself.”
Yes, in all the ways that I have explored the mystery between-us so far, and I do that in many different ways nowadays (Dynamic Presencing, Circles of the Heart, heart-to-heart-dialogues, but also very much in ordinary life when meeting with any person, more and more there is this element even if not made explicit; matter of fact: it is great to inquire into the between-us without making that an explicit point of the meeting),  there is this element of coming from a deeper dimension of ‘myself’, or, using the language of voice-dialogue: A more loving-enlightened personality is called upon and relating.

I’m critical about his use of the ego-concept which I’ll talk about later, but I really object to his idea that by this process “our attention gradually moves from being focused only on the individual to becoming attuned to the collective, until finally it is drawn directly to the field of consciousness itself.”
I object because he does not distinguish between “the field of consciousness” and “attuned to the collective”. It shows that he believes that the ‘between-us’, which basically is the mystery we are exploring, is “a field of consciousness” whereas I’m sure that consciousness is blissfully included but the between-us is much more encompassing than consciousness. It is certainly not a field of … (whatever you want to put on the dots).
For us, of course, it turns up,  it appears, manifests in consciousness very much, blissfully so as everyone who has been there will most likely say, but it’s a world of difference to then take the field to be consciousness into which then “our attention” is “finally drawn”. There is no finality whatsoever in this process as far as I can see, and even if it were, being very much at the beginning of this exploration it is way too early to state such finalities. I can understand, though, that Andrew would make such a statement as this concept of “the field of consciousness” fits with the ‘evolutionary enlightenment’ that is his main business.

Andrew, in his appraisal of the phenomena he encounters in the process as he is practicing it, turns ethical and moral, saying, “This [honor and uphold the higher level] is the moral imperative inherent in the evolutionary process at the leading edge. If the individual feels obligated to sustain his or her highest attainment, which has occurred in an intersubjective context, then individual transformation becomes the only moral response to the collective emergence.”
He obviously likes to be “leading edge” which probably fits well with his personality-type. He also likes “evolutionary process”, particularly because he obviously thinks he already knows where it’s going. I am not so certain; I’m still taking the questions serious, not wanting to rush into answers that don’t come out of the process itself, also reflecting on what instruments and procedures we use in the process and how these determine the between-us that then emerges.

In a process in which the between-us moves to the foreground of our awareness in such a way that it becomes almost tangible to all who are present and participating, what we experience is of high value to the individual, and most likely it will be honored and upheld, if a supporting structure in the person and their surrounding has been somewhat established. What happens more often though, alas, is that it takes many dives into these spiritual or mystical realms before a person finds suitable structures to to sustain the value gained, and turn it into a way of life.

But how do you “sustain his or her own highest attainment, which has occurred in an intersubjective context?”, which is Andrews’s moral imperative, if, as he says himself, “In an ideal world, each individual would spontaneously feel…”
He apparently himself knows that we do not live in an ideal world, so his imperative is not a reality here in this imperfect world we live in.

So when Andrew goes on to tell us why this process will demand that everyone partaking in it transforms, and that this “moral obligation is not imposed from without; it is spontaneously generated within each individual by the intersubjectively revealed higher potential itself,” he is stating the obvious.
Whoever has dipped into the ocean of spiritual delight by whatever means, be it through the ministries of what emerges between-us under certain circumstances or be it through some meditation, catharsis or meta-noia, will feel obliged to transform towards being more in alignment with what has disclosed itself. And this is always generated within each individual, always, because that is also the one that then transforms the individual.
This could only be a surprise to a guru like Andrew who still believes that the Master or the Enlightened somehow effect people’s transformations from ‘outside’ (that actually there is no inside and outside or subject and object is another matter I have discussed elsewhere). So here goes Andrew, “Could there be a greater challenge for the ego? And yet it’s not coming from an external authority.” And we all can know that Andrew sees himself as great, and at times even physically violent, challenger of the ego (whatever that means beyond being the repository of everything one doesn’t like, or what stops one from being/becoming enlightened; the ego being the most abused term in present day spirituality — nobody likes it, everyone believes it must be gotten rid of; it is the arch-enemy of the spiritual; but is it?).

A realistic process of inquiry into the mystery between-us is not centered around concepts that Andrew holds most dearly: “Evolutionary Enlightenment”, “the true teacher” or “Authentic Self” — nevertheless, of course, it is perfectly legitimate to inquire into the between-us like that, surely what emerges there can provide participating individuals with deep insights into what these questions mean for them and the living field. But it is not really opening up to the possibilities of, nor does it show much respect for, the between-us if one already acts as if one knows what the answers to these concepts or questions will be, and from everything he writes here, it is clear that Andrew thinks he does.

If there is one thing the between-us is not, it is the guru-principle. Learning occurs, even very deep and transforming learning. I know for it is this very living field that has been decisive in my migration from being some kind of guru / spiritual teacher myself to being a companion and a friend for some, moving away from vertical spiritual concepts to relational ones; this is what opening up to the mystery between-us has done in my life.

A Culture of Suffering?

I can’t help but notice the enormous energy most people expand to avoid suffering in their own lives and the life of those they cherish. Nevertheless it looks to me as if this very avoidance brings much more suffering.

Not only the Buddha promises – he does so categorically if I’m not mistaken – that there is an end to suffering but similar promises are made by mystics, spiritual masters, enlightened beings etc., and these promises are behind much of psychology and advertising as well. On the other hand I know from studying my own life and that of others that we cannot avoid suffering and that it is part of the depth of being human.
I’m not a masochist that enjoys suffering. Nevertheless, the further I go on my path in this life the more I see that all feelings and emotions are enhanced. And suffering is one of these feelings.
No, suffering doesn’t diminish once one has embarked on the spiritual path. Rather it becomes more and more subtle! I don’t suffer from the romantic ‘nonsense’ that Hollywood sells as a fulfilling relationship (or lack thereof) anymore – love is quite beyond romanticism – rather I keep discovering deeper and more subtle ‘cramps’ inside me (disregarding the environment and the suffering I see there and sometimes resonate with; a suffering that also is more and more clear and perceptible).
Yet, with the ability to give all this suffering space in me more and more I see the transfiguration of this suffering into what I would call ‘human depth.’ I don’t, of course, when I accept suffering “strategically” (accepting it so that it will change). Suffering, difficulty, problems – to accept these is not very hard if one sees clearly that sufferings do not disappear by not wanting to perceive/have them. And it doesn’t disappear by applying the label “illusion” either. And why would it? It’s part of being embodied and alive.
Suffering is real, just as joy is. If we do understand this and live it, then the suffering loses it’s sting…

Why God does not need a Throne

Adapted from a talk at the Serenity Comunity early Spring 2004

Up until now the relationship between a teacher and his students in spiritual communities or similar contexts has been more or less one sided. The teacher knew and lived “it” and the students didn’t know and live “it”. So in a way the teacher was the king and the students were his court.

Kelaniya.temple.war.of.throneThis model does not suit me very well, and to be honest it is “Old Age” to me, obsolete. The reality in which my life unfolds nowadays a spiritual teacher also learns from his students. Of course, he is much more experienced on the spiritual path and thus his students can learn from him, but they too have experiences that the teacher can profit from. It looks like a Moebius-loop to me: an endles braid in both directions.
I know, of course, that basically the relationship between a spiritual teacher and his students is all about what is beyond words, scriptures, thoughts and form. In the context of this article I will call what is beyond ‘the holy flame’. No spiritual teacher can pass on the holy flame no matter how much he would like to. He or she can only burn with this fire. The flame will go on burning, and when the time is ripe the flame itself will ignite the soul of the student. Up until that time they might catch fire for a moment or a while but it will extinguish again because the soul has not yet been ignited.
So the transmission of the holy flame is the true reason for the relationship between a spiritual teacher and his students, and as I see it nothing will change in that respect. I’m burning and at times the people around me catch fire, especially my students as they are very open to me. This fire can start whatever the context may be – just as with ordinary fire almost anything is combustable material… flames aren’t picky they’ll use anything combustable to fuel it. Nevertheless the context has so far been mostly feudalistic and it still is: a structure that doesn’t really fit in this time and age anymore.

It’s time for a revolution in heaven. God descended from his throne a long time ago, he doesn’t need it anymore. God doesn’t need bows. This doesn’t mean that a bow as a natural movement from the heart is now obsolete. When a feeling of deep thankfulness moves you bowing to god or your teacher may be the only way to truly express it. But to do that you need neither throne nor feudalistic structure. The king has abducted and now the court doesn’t have a job anymore…
buddhas empty throneThe feudalistic structure of spiritual communities is based on the realisation that the ego needs to be modest and humble before the soul can be ignited by the holy flame. A fat ego, an arrogant or überhebliche person doesn’t have the slightest chance to experience even a spark of the inner light. He or she is so full of himself, so pleased or abhorred – so busy with himself that not even the tiniest ‘something else’ fits in there. And to hear, “You have to yield, to obey and serve,” is quite humiliating for any ego, most of all an arrogant know-it-all. To humiliate the ego, to break the ego, to get rid of it: in a feudalistic structure everyone – except the very top of the pyramid – gets many lessons in humility, and that is as it should be. Modesty and humility are needed and we can’t do without them… but maybe we can realise them in a different way.
The revolution I am speaking about doesn’t need the traditional humiliation of the ego, yet it still learns the much needed humility – I’m sure because I have seen this happen time and again. It is not only the feudalistically structered obedience towards his teacher that makes the students ego more modest and humble but the love and respect of the teacher towards the student can also accomplish this – that is, if the student is not totally caught up his neurotic games but has already done a few steps on the path. Hard nuts need nutcrackers: the feudalistic structure is certainly good this regard. But most spiritually motivated people I meet apparently have already done away with this hardest of armouries – or never put them on in the first place. They can reckognize that humility is the proper attitude even in a non-feudalistic context.
Love and respect make you humble because good and bad or right and wrong don’t play a role here. Love and respect are not interested in those judgements. But the ego is always judging. It is in need of empowerment or justification, and it wants acknowledgement most of all – but love and respect are not acknowledging it. On the contrary, love undermines the ego structure. Love melts its armory. The tendency to isolate, to do ‘your own thing’, to be comfortably numb, to justify yourself etc. might appear when you are in the company of one who loves unconditionally, but these tendencies are simply not supported – on the contrary one sees their ugly faces and wants to get rid of them as soon as possible, so that you can rest and be where unconditional love resides… the ego armour melts.

That’s why love causes the revolution I’m speaking about.
Suppose one of my students is angry or even mad at me because I said or did something that hurt his feelings or convictions. In the feudalistic structure any kind of criticism is Majestätsbeleidigung and will thus be suppressed or sanctioned. The student will either swallow his anger or suppress it or eine Breitseite abbekommen for being so preposterous as to express it. Within a feudalistic structure he will be humiliated and his ego shot at and maybe even broken.

Yet within the context of love and respect I’ll say (with words or by action), “I can see you’re angry… and will go on loving you.” Because when love and respect rule everything can be just the way it is. And confronted with these energies the ego has to either melt or – when it can muster that kind of strength – withdraw. And when one of my students decides to withdraw to tend to his wounds or to foster his anger (Groll zu hegen) – regardless of what I might also feel I’m respecting that without any buts and don’ts – than he or she can reappear any time as she can be certain of my love and respect. Then the ego melts a bit and becomes more humble as it cannot attach to it’s resitance because in love and respect it really is of no importance whatsoever.
Respect means, to honor the dignity of another person, no matter what his or her ego looks like. If I respect you then your soul will perceive that no matter what you might think about me. That will make it difficult for you to reduce me to my habits or the things I said or did. You cannot but see the love in me and acknowledge that, even if only in your secret chamber.

It is well known that “everything is permitted in love and war.” Regarding war it is quite clear, the one who carries the guns can allow himself to do anything. But that everything is permitted in love is not that obvious because love is often confused with romanticism and its Hollywood-version. In this version of ‘love’ it is only permissible what will make the violins play or sweeten the feelings. But the way I see it is that love moves you to a Yes, a feeling, total, unconditional Yes towards everything that is the case just the way it is, a Yes to everyone present just as they are.

The basic ego structure – this movement in you that is trying to own everything – is the opposite of love. The ego even tries to control love and tame it like it does with everything else – that’s why the romantic Hollywood-version, being nothing but domesticated love, has lost almost every natural aspect and power. So an ego-navigated person can only have limited and limiting releationships in which not much can be or happen.

But a love-navigated person doesn’t know any limits. When moved by love like this you don’t say, “I only love you as long as you behave.” Love doesn’t make those demands. Or would you tell your father, mother or even child, “I only love you when you are lovely, nice and friendly.” That sounds pretty absurd in my ears, even though it is quite clear to me that most people only know conditional love and we can assume that they will actually say or think something like that. Nevertheless unconditional love is also present in these people, maybe perverted or confused as the person is deeply entangled in his or her suffering.

(Since Bert Hellinger’s work we can know that this without doubt. A really earth shaking fact of family constellations is the observation that even in families where the father or mother has abused their son or daughter, there is real love. It is quite unfair, and it is against all we hold dear: to have to reckognise that there is love even in abuse, be it in extremely perverted form. Well, love is not a romantic phenomenon but rather comparable to a force of nature.)

Unconditional love will inevitably lead to the revolution I speak about. If I understand the Bible correctly than Jesus lived just this revolution with his disciples. He was certainly not sitting on a throne, and he wasn’t worshipped by his disciples. He was much more like a primus inter pares: the first one among his equals. This is reflected in many pictures of the Last Supper where everyone is sitting around a table enjoying food and drink and company. So his feet weren’t kissed, and no one adorned him with garlands ofd flowers like it is he case twith so many Eastern gurus and those that copy that structure.

So obviously the revolution I’m speaking about is no so very new, it seems. On the spiritual Way what is important today has always been important. When your soul has ignited, when you are ‘enlightened’ or have ‘awakened’, when the holy fire is burning in your soul, you will become a Brandherd. Then others will want the fire from you; that’s only natural and as it has always been. And you don’t have a choice to pass on the fire or not, because whatever you do you’re burning. But you do have a choice regarding the structure in which the transmission of the holy fire can take place even if some spiritual teachers may not be aware of that choice.

In the feudalistic structure the teacher or master is regarde as perfect; he has achieved what is achievable. This then shows itself in the form of spiritual kingship, and that in it’s turn does attract students that want to become a king themselves. That’s why the student whose soul has caught fire within this structure usually has to leave his teacher and start his own little fire somewhere as it is impossible to be king next to a king. But when we live this revolution we can all catch fire without anyone having to go anywhere else to start his own. We can be connected in love and give and take from each other – and start a veritable Fl�chenbrand. So wether the teachers is burning and his students are warming themselves at his fire or if some or many of them are on fire themselves, they are being together in love and mutual respect.

We could say about the spiritual way that one person is at milestone 5, another is at milestone 10 and still another at milestone 15 and so on. The feudalistic structure is based also on the conviction that the one at milestone 15 is much further than the one at milestone 5. But the revolution is fueled by the insight that both are on the very same way – and by the observation that there is no final destination. The well known saying, “All ways lead to Rome,” is complete nonsense.
All ways lead everywhere.

The spiritual way has no final destination and the mystical endeavour no “final solution” so it is complete nonsense to say that one person is further on he path than another. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from others that are on the way, on the contrary. But to build a throne on the wayside at milestone 15 and then say, “If you want to know how to get from milestone 5 to milestone 10 you have to kiss my feet first,” belongs to the middle ages. We don’t need this structure anymore.
This doesn’t mean we’re all equal. No we are all different and everyone is unique. That means I can learn from every single one of you, and I do as a matter of fact. I didn’t catch fire or ignite my soul with you; it has been ignited elsewhere. But I did learn from you on many levels. And of course everyone of you can profit from my experience and being.

Surely, in my seminars and events I am in charge, I say where we will go and what we will do next. But the feudalistic structure where I sit on some pedestal and all of you sit one level below me is not up to date anymore. I’m experiencing this all the time: Someone is stuck in some ego movie somewhere, and I become still and leave it up to love and respect. Then usually that person wakes up to see what’s going on – what he or she is doing. And having been on this path for quite some time now I do know some ways to maybe make this a bit clearer to him or her. But I’ll only do that if love wants me to or if you draw it out of me.

I do not have particular plans for anyone; I don’t want you to go anywhere where you are not now. If I look at someone with the eyes of love and this person is in some movie or other then nothing in me wants to stop that movie. I might see – and usually do – that he would be much happier without it but that doesn’t mean I’ll try to get him out of it. This movie and the ego structure that projects it don’t encumber this love; on the contrary, where this love is no owning (the main activity of the psychic system called ego) can function. We don’t need the feudalistic structure to become humble, we do it with love and respect.

boab39_sigilSplashAs it does seem much easier for the people today to ignite their soul in a non-feudalistic context it seems to me the time has come for this revolution. That will also take care of one of the other problems of the feudalistic relationship between teachers and students on the spiritual path, and that is that the teacher is slowly losing contact with the reality most of his students live in. This is so because within this structure it is very hard to approach the teacher personally. And then we haven’t even mentioned the fact that within this structure abuse is very, very easy and students have a hard time noticing that (You can think of the inquisition in this regard or so called islamic terror, but you might also think of Sheelas “fascism” in Oshos buddhafield in Oregon; all these abuses in the name of god or enlightenment are being fostered by feudalistic structure that are not to be questioned.)

Nevertheless all of this has not hindered the transmission of the holy flame in the past as the only thing that is needed for this is a teacher burning with the fire and a student humble and trusting enough to ignite his soul. But – and now I come to a point that is very important to me – the feudalistic context in which this flame is being transmitted is always transported with it too. This is due to the way our psyche is apparently structured: we project the content usually to that form in which the content comes to us. Every structure in which the holy flame can burn is thus sanctified by it, and over time to the students and often even the teacher the form becomes just as holy as the fire itself.

If for instance you have deep mystical experiences in the christian context you would sanctify it and regard the form of worship, the christian teaching, the church hirarchy in which your ‘divine revelation’ happened as the body of the holy spirit, as it were.
Or suppose you have a deep spiritual experience in the context of buddhism. Then you would think that the special form of Zen, Vajrayana or Theravada – just to name a few buddhist schools – in which it happened is ‘it’. You would identify the form with the content simply because you saw the light in this form, and so you would probably speak with much conviction of the dignity of the Buddha, Sangha and Dharma.

And it is almost inevitable that most of the people having spiritual experiences in my presence will regard the structure and patterns we have created here almost as just as holy as the experience itself. This is often the case because as you’re having a mystical experience you often also feel an enormous authority, these experiences have a divine characteristic and divinity is the highest authority – that’s what many people feel. In these experiences you often have the feeling that you are perceiving an enormous or fundamental truth, an all encompassing meaning, eternal beauty, bliss and so on. All of this is, if you aren’t careful enough, projected onto the form in which it manifests.
As I see it the experience itself – if it is truly deep or mystical – will transport you to a dimension beyond form; but you mostly return to the form where you ‘started’ from. So in your understanding of what happened the formless and the form relate to each other in a way in which the formless sanctifies the form in some manner. But if you’ve been to that dimension often enough and your trust and inner certainty has grown than you see that the formless is actually sanctifying all form – unconditionally.
All these experiences and insights have led me to this revolution that I propose here and that we are already living at the Serenity Community, a revolution in which we leave the traditional feudalistic structure and the one sided relationship between teacher and student behind. And apart from everything I’ve said so far I want to really stress this: With this revolution we sanctify the context of love and respect, that structure in which the teacher and the student are moving along one and the same path – and we are charging this way with our holy fire so that it might carry us through new and fruitful landscapes.

Since ancient times the transmission of the holy flame happened in the context I have been calling feudalistic here – and as we can see this fire is still burning today. I don’t know if the revolutionary structure of love and respect can safely carry the holy fire like that. We’ll know in a few hundred years if this is so. But here and now I see the holy flame flowing and florishing within this context of love and respect, and so I am very zuversichtlich

God does not sit on a throne.
He is not even the center around which everything revolves.
If there is a whereabout of God
it is everywhere and in everything
and everyone is his homeststead.
You too!

Keeping the Vision

January 2nd 2006 – Talking to the Serenity-Community

Since many years experiments are being conducted in which human beings are trying to influence random number generators. These machines produce thousands of zeros or ones per minute randomly, that means by pure coincidence. It doesn’t mater how many times you run this generator you always get 50% zeros and 50% ones. And this is always the case unless you put a human being in front of it, trying to influence the outcome. Every human can influence the 50/50 output of this random number generator to a greater or lesser degree. This has been proven countless times. Many, many experiments since the eighties have been done at the most reknown universities, the American MIT for instance and the Princeton University, and they have been conducted in Amsterdam, Holland and other places.

Now, one person can sway this chance of 50% a little bit, if I remember rightly by up to 1 percent, which is very significant from a scientific point of view. If you put two people in front of it they sway it up to two or three times as much. But if these people love each other they sway the machine six times as much. I find that very significant – this love-effect! These are utterly reliable scientific data showing what is possible if two loving people together put their energy, power and imagination to influencing a random number generator.

So I ask, “What will happen if we here put this principal to work with the vision of an integral and compassionate culture? … Or are we here at the Serenity-Community not ready for this, yet?” I think we are, and I do believe that in spite of our difficult financial situation at this moment we will manage, but we will not do so if we don’t put our energy, our imagination, our power into influencing our future. You live here expecting some spiritual nourishment, and you can expect to be so nourished, of course — but if you don’t want to be just as a consumer of spiritual goods then you have to sit down and put your energy, imagination, intelligence into that vision of creating an intelligently compassionate culture now. This is the kind of school we are having here at Serenity, an integral school for a different, a true spiritual culture. And this way we make this place attractive for people coming here, a place were you can now already get a taste of the coming intelligently compassionate culture. Not a place of people privatizing, doing their own thing — which is quit fine, I am not against that at all — but most of all a place of intelligent love and loving intelligence. And that means in all moments of life … whenever you have conflicts or tensions between you, you stop for a moment, remember what both of you are up to, that is: you want to realize that vision, that kind of life. And then from there you will find the energy and the intelligence to do so. You put your energy there, put your love there, and put your intelligence there… and realize it this very moment.

This is not an ashram or a monastery with the motto, “ora et labora” (pray & work). We actually never had much labora compared to monasteries anyway, and this has never been a place where you’re suppose to give up your joys and the little private fun you have, not at all. But if you give as much energy to realizing the vision of an intelligently compassionate culture as you are giving to your own private joys right now , we will be an unbeatable force. It’s fine, it’s perfectly all right to want to realize your own goals and have your own happiness — but if you put as much energy in the vision as in realizing your own goals then you will live to see that incredibly beautiful culture.
I have seen the future and I tell you: It is incredible! But I can’t make it a manifest reality on my own. I can be a great teacher, I can be a great energy worker, I can be terrific, my groups are getting better all the time. This I know, people are telling me this quite often now. So I don’t need anybody for doing that, but for realizing this vision I need people and I need you, every single one of you. And I’m happy it’s you, because I love everyone of you. And I don’t only love you, I actually like you as well. Liking is personal, loving is from heart to heart, to heart regardless of the person. So that’s a double plus. And undoubtedly there will be many others as well that we love and like…
Actually we have had a great omen, different kinds of birds flying and playing together, I told you about this experience in the winter seminar. The I Ching has told me much the same, and I’ve seen the future, so it’s all there. The spirit of the times is with it, and the Tao is moving in that direction. Now, this year I hope to open up a few more places to do seminars and events and so on to involve more people and make the vision and possibility known far and wide, hoping, that the seed will fall into fertile ground here and there — this is what I can do. And I am investing everything I have in that, as you well know. So now I want you to look inside your heart and see if that’s what you want too, and if that’s what you want in your heart of hearts, then be courageously joyful and go! Because that’s the way — yes, you will move in the right direction. And if this is not there for you, if it is not your truth, you will also move in the right direction: yours. It will be a private one, and that is just as fine. I do not criticize that at all. Who am I to know what life wants you to be and do? But then this place, Serenity, is not the place for realizing that; you might want to consider finding a more suitable place for realizing your own private goals.

So this year is the year of manifestation for Serenity or it will be the year when Serenity comes to an end. We will see which it is. Don’t worry about it, because if you act from worry or fear, you might help a little bit, but it doesn’t amount to much; you will loose your energy and power that way. So don’t worry about it, don’t be fearful about it. Move from the truth; look in your heart and find it there, and then move from there.
There is a Bible verse where it says about Jesus’ disciples: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This doesn’t mean they were chosen by Jesus, they rather chose them selves. So this vision I am having is calling many people. It is attracting many people, but only those that choose them selves to realize it, to co-create it, they are the chosen ones. They are the ones that build the nest for the vision to come true, and those are the people I am interested in. I want to teach, I want to relate, and I want to give everything to them, to people that choose themselves. And I am sure we will get all the help we need from as yet totally unknown quarters. But it will never come if we are not moving with our heart and intelligence in the direction we believe in.

And you will notice that on that way there is already a lot of happiness for you personally, because if you are moving in the direction that comes from the heart, then every movement gives you happiness right now. You might fail, but the moving in that direction gives you happiness, and that counts much more. So don’t worry about it, just move in the right direction, step by step, day by day, moment by moment, whenever you remember. And if you don’t remember and you remember later, don’t worry about forgetting sometimes.

Well, that’s how creation came into being, God forgot himself, herself, and here you are. So don’t worry about that.